Make TV Goes Offline…and Back Online

By Steve Smith
01/05/2009

After years of experience making some of the best online video podcasts available, O’Reilly Media’s Make Magazine brand extends to TV in a regular series in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television.

The magazine describes the series as a break from how-to programming as we know it. It is “the DIY series for a new generation! It celebrates ‘Makers’ – the inventors, artists, geeks and just plain everyday folks who mix new and old technology to create new-fangled marvels. The series encourages everyone to invent, revent, recycle, upcycle, and act up. Each half-hour episode inspires millions to think, create, and, well, make.”

The first episode features artists who use junk as their base material and offers a way to leverage the internal clock of your old VCR to time a cat feeder.

The first episode appeared this past weekend on scores of PBS affiliates nationwide as well as on YouTube and at www.makezine.tv. The series is novel in its cross platform implementation. The half-hour episodes are available in their entirety on iTunes and are parsed into their component segments for redistribution elsewhere. In a partnership with YouTube, the Make series uses the video aggregator’s recently launched HD service for larger, more resolved video. The Geek Squad is an early sponsor.

The most compelling aspect of Make TV is its distinct cultural posture and voice. More than a simple extension of a magazine logo and staff, the show embodies a philosophy of highly innovative DIY, a kind of counterpoint to consumerism itself. There is a sensibility here that is entirely consistent across TV, print, online video, and even the PDF files for the projects available for personal printing. In an age when cross-platform distribution is imperative, when magazines must become more than magazines, Make Magazine’s brand exemplifies what is needed in the new media landscape, a brand that is as much a movement and a cause as it is just another content offering that is defined simply by an audience demo or psychographic.